Muslim Leaders Have Roundly Denounced Islamic State, But Conservative Media Won't Tell You That

››› ››› ELLIE SANDMEYER & MICHELLE LEUNG

Conservative media figures have wrongly accused Muslim groups and leaders of failing to denounce the violent acts of the terrorist group the Islamic State (ISIS or ISIL), despite the fact that numerous Muslim religious authorities, advocacy groups, and Imams have come together to denounce the Islamic State's un-Islamic crimes against humanity.

Conservative Media Figures Complain That Few Muslim Voices Are Denouncing The Islamic State  

Fox & Friends: "We Aren't Hearing Much" Condemnation Of ISIS From Muslim Groups Like The Organization Of Islamic Cooperation Or Al-Azhar. On the August 21 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, co-host Anna Kooiman claimed that "we aren't hearing much" from Muslim countries and groups in response to the brutal acts of violence committed by the Islamic State, while the network's Middle East and terrorism expert Whalid Phares called on Islamic organizations Al-Azhar and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation to condemn the terrorist group:

ANNA KOOIMAN: But what should other countries be doing? Specifically Muslim countries and what about Muslim groups? We aren't hearing much from them this morning.

[...]

Why do you think it's so important for Muslims across the country and all over the globe to speak out against ISIS?

WALID PHARES: The first institution should be Al-Azhar University, the equivalent of the Vatican in Egypt. They could do a lot by delegitimizing the work of ISIS. And second, the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation, it represents 57 Muslim governments. Some of these governments have criticized ISIS, but they need to coordinate at the international level. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 8/21/14]

Sean Hannity: "Where Are The Muslim Leaders" Speaking Out Against The Islamic State Terrorist Group? During the August 12 edition of Sean Hannity's Fox News program, in a segment titled "The Silence of Muslims," Hannity claimed that Muslims leaders have not been proactive in denouncing the "rise of radical Islam" and acts of terror committed by the Islamic State:

SEAN HANNITY: As we witness the rise of radical Islam all across the globe, and thousands of innocent non-Muslims are being terrorized for their faith, I can't help but wonder, where are the Muslim leaders? Now, since September 11, 2001, radical Islamists have attacked all the places that you see there highlighted on the map on your screen, including, let's see, New York, Madrid, Moscow, London, Washington, D.C.

So the question is, will prominent Muslims denounce and take on groups like ISIS, Hamas, and condemn and also fight against their unthinkable acts of terrorism?

[...]

We see this group ISIS - 'convert or die.' Why do I sense there's not enough outspoken Muslims saying, you know, 'We condemn this. This is not our religion. Stop doing acts of terror in the name of our religion.'I don't hear those voices that loudly. [Fox News, Hannity, 8/12/14]

ABC News' Laura Ingraham: We're Not Hearing Enough, "If Any," Condemnation Of The Islamic State From The Muslim Community. Laura Ingraham, host of syndicated radio show The Laura Ingraham Show and contributor for both Fox News and ABC News, argued on August 11 that few, "if any," in the Muslim community have condemned the Islamic State, asking, "Where are those people":

LAURA INGRAHAM: And it would be nice if more in the Muslim world coming out and condemning what the Islamic State is doing. You're not hearing enough of those voices, if any. I mean, where are those people? [Courtside Entertainment Group, The Laura Ingraham Show, 8/11/14]

In Reality, Top Muslim Leaders And Groups -- Like The Organization of Islamic Cooperation -- Have Condemned The Islamic State  

The Organization Of Islamic Cooperation: The Islamic State Has "Nothing To Do With Islam," Has Committed Crimes "That Cannot Be Tolerated." As the Vatican's internal news source reported, the Secretary General for the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, which represents 1.4 billion Muslims in 57 countries around the world, condemned the Islamic State's persecution of of Christians and other religious minorities in Iraq, saying the "forced deportation under the threat of execution" is a "crime that cannot be tolerated." According to the Vatican:

The Secretary General also distanced Islam from the actions of the militant group known as ISIS, saying they 'have nothing to do with Islam and its principles that call for justice, kindness, fairness, freedom of faith and coexistence.' [Vatican Radio, 7/25/14]

Al-Azhar: Islamic State Is Corrupt And "A Danger To Islam." Lebanese paper The Daily Star reported that Al-Azhar's Grand Mufti Shawqi Allam, Egypt's highest religious authority, denounced the Islamic State as a threat to Islam and said that the group both violates Sharia law and humanitarian law: "[They] give an opportunity for those who seek to harm us, to destroy us and interfere in our affairs with the [pretext of a] call to fight terrorism." [The Daily Star, 8/13/14]

Arab League: "Strongly Denounced" The "Crimes Against Humanity" Carried Out By The Islamic State. On August 11, Nabil al-Arabi, the Arab League Chief, denounced acts committed by the Islamic State in Iraq as "crimes against humanity," demanding that they be brought to justice. According to Al Arabiya News, he said in a statement that he "strongly denounced the crimes, killings, dispossession carried out by the terrorist (ISIS) against civilians and minorities in Iraq that have affected Christians in Mosul and Yazidis." [Al Arabiya News, 8/11/14]

Turkey's Top Cleric: Islamic State's Threats Are "Hugely Damaging," "Truly Awful." Turkey's highest ranking cleric, Mehmet Gormez, decried the Islamic State's declaration of a "caliphate" and argued that the statements were damaging to the Muslim community, according to Reuters:

"Such declarations have no legitimacy whatsoever," Mehmet Gormez, head of the Religious Affairs Directorate, the highest religious authority in Turkey, which, although a majority Muslim country, has been a secular state since the 1920s.

"Since the caliphate was abolished ... there have been movements that think they can pull together the Muslim world by re-establishing a caliphate, but they have nothing to do with reality, whether from a political or legal perspective."

Gormez said death threats against non-Muslims made by the group, formerly known as Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), were hugely damaging.

"The statement made against Christians is truly awful. Islamic scholars need to focus on this (because) an inability to peacefully sustain other faiths and cultures heralds the collapse of a civilization," he told Reuters in an interview. [Reuters, 7/22/14]

CAIR Repeatedly Condemned The Islamic State As "Un-Islamic And Morally Repugnant." In a July 7 statement, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) called the terrorist group "un-Islamic and morally repugnant," noted that the Islamic State's "human rights abuses on the ground are well-documented," and called on other Muslim community leaders to speak out against the violence. CAIR reiterated the condemnation of the Islamic State as "both un-Islamic and morally repugnant" on August 11, and on August 21, CAIR once again condemned the group, calling the killing of American journalist James Foley "gruesome and barbaric":

We strongly condemn this gruesome and barbaric killing as a violation of Islamic beliefs and of universally-accepted international norms mandating the protection of prisoners and journalists during conflicts.

The Geneva Conventions, the Quran - Islam's revealed text - and the traditions (hadith) of the Prophet Muhammad all require that prisoners not be harmed in any way. There can be no excuse or justification for such criminal and bloodthirsty actions.

We also call on those holding Steven Sotloff and other prisoners to immediately release them unharmed so they may return to their loved ones. [Council on American-Islamic Relations, 7/7/14; Council on American-Islamic Relations, 8/11/14; Council on American-Islamic Relations, 8/20/14]

The Muslim Council Of Great Britain: "Violence Has No Place In Religion." The Muslim Council of Great Britain condemned the Islamic State's actions and expressed that they do not represent Sunni Muslims, according to The Independent. Shuja Shafi, a member of the council also said: "Violence has no place in religion, violence has no religion. It is prohibited for people to present themselves for destruction." [The Independent, 7/11/14]

The Islamic Society of North America: The Islamic State's Actions "Are To Be Denounced And Are In No Way Representative Of What Islam Actually Teaches. The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) released a statement denouncing the Islamic State "for its attacks on Iraq's religious minorities and the destruction of their places of worship." ISNA President Imam Mohamed Magid said, "ISIS actions against religious minorities in Iraq violate the Quranic teaching, 'Let there be no compulsion in religion' (Surat al-Baqara 2:256)," adding, "Their actions are to be denounced and are in no way representative of what Islam actually teaches." [The Islamic Society of North America, 8/9/14]

100 Sunni And Shiite U.K. Imams: The Islamic State Is An "Illegitimate, Vicious Group." As the Huffington Post reported, 100 Sunni and Shiite Imams from the U.K. came together to produce a video denouncing the Islamic State, releasing a statement that they wanted to "come together to emphasise the importance of unity in the UK and to decree ISIS as an illegitimate, vicious group who do not represent Islam in any way."  

[Huffington Post, 7/12/14; YouTube, 7/11/14]

Saudi Arabia's Highest Religious Authority: Terrorists Like The Islamic State Is The "Number One Enemy Of Islam." On August 19, Al Jazeera reported that Saudi Arabia's grand mufti, Abdulaziz al-Sheikh, the country's top religious authority, said that terrorism is anti-Islamic and said that groups like the Islamic State which practice violence are the "number one enemy of Islam":

Extremist and militant ideas and terrorism which spread decay on Earth, destroying human civilisation, are not in any way part of Islam, but are enemy number one of Islam, and Muslims are their first victims. [Al Jazeera, 8/19/14]

Muslim Public Affairs Council: Condemned The Islamic State And Called For "Stand Against Extremism." On August 20, the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) released a statement condemning "the barbaric execution of American Journalist James Foley by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)." MPAC urged "all people of conscience to take a stand against extremism" and offered condolences to Foley's family. MPAC also noted the importance of countering ISIS and other extremist groups by working "to empower the mainstream and relegate extremists to the irrelevance they deserve." [Muslim Public Affairs Council, 8/20/14]

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